Friday Roundup: Vocational certificates, population growth in largest counties, initiatives on the ballot, weakening global economy

There are always a few items we’ve read during a week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Brookings Institution: Do students benefit from obtaining vocational certificates from community colleges?

One way to increase the likelihood that employers will recognize these credentials is to create relationships between community colleges and nearby industries…

The rapid growth in short- and long-term certificates awarded by public community colleges may be a positive development if these programs are providing access to higher education for students who wouldn’t otherwise attend.

e21: The Far-Flung Casualties of California’s $15 Minimum

Fresno, a mid-sized interior city, has a median wage of $15.02. Wealthy San Jose, by comparison, has a median wage of $27.61, nearly twice Fresno’s level…Therefore, a universal minimum wage for the entire will affects various cities in different ways. A $15 wage floor will take a large “bite” out of the earnings distributions of low-wage interior cities, making many low-skilled workers unemployable, while the effects on high-wage coastal cities might be more limited.

…If California must raise its minimum wage, it should raise it to lower levels for inland jurisdictions with lower-wage labor markets, following an example set by Oregon earlier this year. The state could also create an exemption for younger workers who are most likely to lose out on job opportunities due to higher minimum wages.

New Geography: Population Growth in the Largest Counties

As last week’s US Census Bureau population estimates indicated, the story of population growth between 2014 and 2015 was largely about Texas…The same is largely true with respect to population trends in the nation’s largest counties, with The Lone Star state dominating both in the population growth and domestic migration among 135 counties with more than 500,000 population…Strong showings in other Southern states ensured that 80 percent of the fastest-growing large counties and those with the fastest domestic migration rates were in the South. The few remaining positions were taken up by metropolitan areas in the West.

[Note: Snohomish and King Counties ranked #27 and #28 respectively.]

Associated Press: Weak Global Economy is Said to Threaten Government Finances

Sluggish global growth threatens to keep governments around the world from being able to pay pensions and bondholders, the chief economist of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Wednesday.

The OECD, representing mostly advanced economies, has lowered its forecast for worldwide economic growth to 3 percent this year from the 3.3 percent it estimated in November.

The Daily News: Washington voters likely to decide on minimum wage initiative

Associated Press: Carbon-tax initiative goes to November ballot